The first 5 🌟 of the year goes to… Changeling by Matt Wesolowski #BlogTour #BookReview @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks @annecater

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Welcome to my blog stop on the book tour for Changeling by Matt Wesolowski. My thanks to the author, to Anne Cater and publisher Orenda Books for the opportunity to be part of the tour. No guestpost today because I’m so excited about this book you’re getting a book review. I can’t wait to tell you more so let’s go!

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On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the Wentshire Forest Pass, when a burst tyre forced his father, Sorrel, to stop the car. Leaving the car to summon the emergency services, Sorrel returned to find his son gone. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.

Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel, his son and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. He takes a journey through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there. He talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know where Alfie is…

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Author

Author Matt Wesolowski

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- an US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie CreatureSelfies from the End of the WorldCold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, and film rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller.

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Oh how long I’ve been dying to tell everyone how much I LOVED this book! I was already a fan of the Six Stories series since I discovered the first novel (ICYMI here’s my review of #1 Six Stories and #2 Hydra) and I knew this would be good but let me tell you this one’s really criminally good.

Changeling was bold, unrelenting and without a doubt my SCARIEST READ EVER. The novel is only 173 pages long but that was more than enough to really rattle me.

I seriously love novels with stories drenched in legend and folklore and Changeling made optimal use of this. I’m actually not superstitious so I made the assumption this story wouldn’t get to me but I assure you that even when you don’t believe, this book will get under your skin. After the spooky forest in Six Stories, the author amped it up another notch by introducing mysterious black-eyed children who come knocking on your door in Hydra. This time he was on such a roll with his descriptions of Wentshire Forest, it gave me goosebumps, made me question everything and scared me so much more than I expected. If you want the full experience you should read it at night, I dare you! As usual I read a little before bedtime and I think I was awake half the night, hearing all kinds of sounds and thinking about what could possibly be going on, wondering about the truth of that forest where strange things occured during construction of some holiday cottages. Is it haunted and was Alfie taken by *dare I even say this out loud* forest fairies? Did the father kill his son?  The story and what was happening in the past and the present was so intriguing it made my head hurt thinking about it.

When I finished reading the novel I just sat there, staring into the distance with a major book hangover. I can best describe the whole experience as going into a horror house, you’re scared and all but once you’ve left all you can think is I want to do it again. Well it’s the same here! Changeling was incredibly atmospheric, and involved a brilliant plotline that really delivered in the end. This is a novel that I’ll recommend to everyone over and over again, and I can’t wait to read another cold case podcast.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

*** Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour ***

Changeling Blog Tour Poster

 

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A brilliant debut! My Name is Anna by Lizzy Barber #BookReview #BlogTour @ByLizzyBarber @arrowpublishing @Rachel90Kennedy

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Welcome to my blog stop on the book tour for the brilliant debut novel My Name is Anna by Lizzy Barber. My thanks to the author, to Rachel Kennedy and Arrow Publishing for the opportunity to be part of the tour. I can’t wait to tell you more so let’s go!

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Two women – desperate to unlock the truth.
How far will they go to lay the past to rest?

ANNA has been taught that virtue is the path to God. But on her eighteenth birthday she defies her Mamma’s rules and visits Florida’s biggest theme park.
She has never been allowed to go – so why, when she arrives, does everything seem so familiar? And is there a connection to the mysterious letter she receives on the same day?

ROSIE has grown up in the shadow of the missing sister she barely remembers, her family fractured by years of searching without leads. Now, on the fifteenth anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, the media circus resumes in full flow, and Rosie vows to uncover the truth. But will she find the answer before it tears her family apart?

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Most surprising novel of the year so far! I loved this debut, it was so much deeper and darker than I thought it would be.

A story always has two sides and I was thrilled the author didn’t choose to write this magnificent story in a single narrative but opted for a dual narrative by Anna and Rosie, sharing their own individual story in alternating chapters. Their very different, contrasting lives made for fascinating reading and the anticipation of seeing these threads come together was agonizing.

As a reader I knew more than the main protagonists right from the start so I had to wait a while for one of the girls to catch up with what I already knew and some readers might perhaps find it a bit of a slow start but it’s oh so important to watch the whole thing unfold in its own time, it’s essential to see how that seed of doubt develops, grows and is cultivated. It can’t be rushed or it wouldn’t be believable anymore so I tried to resist the urge for a quick progression and my desire to see the storylines cross-over. The buildup was subtle and let me see the many nuances in the girls’ lives. Not only were they raised on different continents, they were raised very differently as well. You can’t miss what you don’t have but my heart went out to Anna because I knew of course what they were both missing. As I turned the pages I  was overcome with a sad feeling thinking how different both their lives could have been.

Anna lives with her religious neat-freak mother and she’s destined to lead a strict and frugal life. I didn’t envy her life and I certainly didn’t like her mother. Rosie on the other hand was raised in a warm and affectionate family, she smokes, drinks and goes to parties (without her mum knowing). She’ll never be like other teenagers though, the fact that her sister is missing casts a big shadow on their family. The grief of this entire broken family of parents, a sister and even the brother who doesn’t even know the missing girl was so touchingly described that it made my heart ache.

I was hugely awarded for my initial patience because the last part of the novel was terrific. The story intensified gradually with the help of two other narrators who help reveal the backstory and the reasons why this happened 15 years earlier. It made such compelling reading! I might have had my judgement at the ready from page 1 but hearing the full story that led to the kidnapping, it changed my initial views and condemnation. Never judge a book by its cover, or in this case, by the facts. I’m not saying I’m agreeing with what Anna’s mother did but at least I can say I have some understanding.

My Name Is Anna made me feel a wide range of emotions and quite surprisingly the story turns more and more dangerous. Who does Anna have to be afraid of though? Her mother or this mystery man who knows who she is? The story builds to an amazing climax too that made me hold my breath. Gripping and tense, check and check!

I’m very happy with the way it ended, I loved the epilogue. It could have ended differently or the author could have written clichés to give the story a ‘happy ever after’ ending with no further thought but she didn’t and that’s what makes it so much better and made me close the novel with a sigh of contentment.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

*** Don’t forget to check out the other 2 blog tour stops today ***

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#BlogTour #Guestpost: ‘Oh, The Places You’ve Been’, a fabulous (and hilarious) poem by Good Samaritans author Will Carver @OrendaBooks @AnneCater @Will_Carver

Good Samaritans

Welcome to my blog stop on the book tour for Good Samaritans by Will Carver. The author wrote such an original guestpost for my stop about his journey as a writer of 5 years. It’s very different because he wrote it as a poem! He used Dr Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go and tweaked it a bit :-). [NOTE: if you haven’t read it then click the link and take a look at the first rhymes].

My thanks to the author for the sublime guestpost, to Anne Cater of Random Books tours and to publisher Orenda Books for the opportunity to be part of the tour. I can’t wait to tell you more so let’s go!

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One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.
But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…

And someone is watching…

Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.

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Author

Will CarverWill Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company.
He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

Guestpost

OH, THE PLACES YOU’VE BEEN

Commiserations!
Today’s not your day.
We don’t want your words, now.
So be on your way.

Sure, there’s brains in your head,
And a dick in your hand,
But Will Carver is DEAD,
We’re sure you understand.
You’re out on your own and you know what you know,
That your publisher ditched you, you’ve nowhere to go.

And you’ll need a new agent. You’ll need a new book.
You fluked it first time and don’t know where to look.
With your head full of dicks and your hand full of brain,
You’re doubting if ever this will be again.
You may not find anyone willing to team.
You may be the only one clung to that dream.

It’s darker in here.
In that head. With that fear.

But here, things can happen.
And sometimes they do
to people as brainy
and cocky as you.

Things won’t start to happen.
No. Not straight away.
You first have to suffer
and fuck up each day.

OH! THE PLACES YOU’VE BEEN.

You’re on your way down
You’re seeing great lows.
You’ve joined the downtrodden
who dwell in their woes.

You want to climb out of this pit. Don’t know how.
And the writers you knew are all bestsellers now.
While you’re trying so hard just to make the ends meet.
And you feel somehow you’re going to land on your feet.

Except that you won’t.
Because, sometimes, you don’t.

We’re sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
that fuck-ups
and break-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
that they took all your words.
And your family and friends
will be reduced to thirds.
And then nothing you hear
will ever be funny.
You’re not a writer,
You’re screwed. With no money.

And when you’re exhausted
and screwed and no fun,
Un-screwing yourself
is not easily done.

You will live in a place where there’s three to one bed.
But the darkest of rooms is the one in your head.
A room you can cry in. It’s sorrow. It’s sin.
Do you want to stay out? Do you want to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you can go in, is there a way out?
Are there crossroads and trap doors and a roundabout.
You will cross some roads. And about you will round.
The answers you seek are not easily found.
And the walls are much tighter.
You don’t feel like a writer.

But what if you find that your kids are not screwed?
And what if you changed your stupid attitude?
And what if a friendship turned to something new?
If you didn’t screw them, then could you unscrew you?
That ladder’s too short you saw lying about.
But maybe, just maybe, you’ll write your way out.

You have brains in your head, you have feet that can walk,
You write down a line, ‘This is Seth, want to talk?’
You’ve a dick in you pants and a tongue in your cheek,
You write down another, ‘Go fuck yourself, freak!’

You’re writing and writting and wroting galore.
Deleting, delighting, deleting some more.
You’re chopping and chipping your chapters away
Devotedly wroting your chapters all day.
You type out the end and already you hate it,
It’s too late, you look round and see you have made it.

Nothing to do with positive thinking.
Nothing to do with the whisky you’re drinking.
You still have one bed and your bank account’s shit,
But you just wrote yourself right out of the pit.

Five years from when you fell flat on your face,
You find things are starting to fall back in place
You start to believe again, writing’s a should.
People are saying Samaritan’s good.
And you will succeed. Absolutely. Indeed.
But you’ve learned that nothing can be guaranteed.

And your dick makes you male
And your brain makes you clever
But you’ve been where you’ve been
And you’re more scared than ever.

*** Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour ***

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The Lingering by SJI Holliday #BlogTour #BookReview

The Lingering

Welcome to my blog stop on the book tour for The Lingering by SJI Holliday. My thanks to the author and to Anne Cater and publisher Orenda Books for the opportunity to be part of the tour. I can’t wait to tell you more so let’s go!

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Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

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The Lingering is a ghost story but also a story about manipulation and control. I usually stay far from novels that even just hint at something paranormal, ghost stories are simply too unbelievable for me but there are exceptions for everything and this novel is definitely one I’m happy to have made. This is one novel that hooks you right away and impossible to put down. I was completely engrossed from the beginning thanks to Holliday’s amazingly suggestive writing. I never quite knew what was going on exactly.. she introduces a ghost – or two, three – into the story, unless they are hallucinations of course, who’s to say ;-)? It was a thrill to find out is all I can say.

The story was oh so creepy and unnerving! Should this story ever be made into a movie then I’m not sure I’ll watch it because it’s the kind of movie I’m usually too afraid to watch. Holliday brings so many terrific gothic/horror-elements together in this novel that you really can’t escape that ominous feeling of foreboding. Something is amiss and you don’t know what it is and where it will lead but it made me very nervous.

Rosalind House is an old building – a former asylum – and if the walls could speak they’d undoubtedly have many disturbing stories to tell. Some of what happened in the 1950s is told by reports that a doctor made in the past, when he was sent to evaluate how patients were treated and what methods were used. Even further in the past the village had witches to deal with as well, so as for setting, it counts as unbelievably atmospheric.

Add to this a community with their own rulebook, quite reminiscent of a sort of cult, and residents you don’t know anything about and you have the perfect ingredients for this scary story. To top it all off, one of the residents, Angela, strongly believes in ghosts and spirits and she’s determined to prove it. Two newcomers Ali and Jack also join the commune and Angela jumps at the chance to make friends but Ali is closing herself off from contact. There’s definitely something going on with Ali and Jack as well and the reasons for leaving everything behind in such a hurry is shrouded in a big mystery and take their time to unfold.

The story builds up tension and Ali, a firm non-believer, experiences some unsettling and strange events that left me doubtful. Is someone playing tricks, is she mental or are there really spirits from the past trying to make contact? It’s definitely one of the former but Holliday kept me in the dark until my nerves were frayed and my nails almost bitten to the quick. The only regret I have is that I would have liked perhaps more insight and backstory into some of the other characters too, like Rose. It’s just a small niggle though, because I couldn’t get enough and they all intrigued me.

The Lingering is one helluva page-turner that you better not read in the late hours of the night if you still want to have some sleep. If you enjoy scary reads then I can very recommend this one!

I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

*** Don’t forget to check the other blog tour stops too ***

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The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers #BlogTour #Review

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My thanks to the wonderful Tracy Fenton and publisher Manatee Books for my copy of The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour!

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When you look at those you love, what do you see?

When Issy, young mother and beloved daughter, seemingly kills herself her family is devastated.

Believing she would never leave son Noah willingly, Jon and Mel determine to discover what really happened to Issy. As they and the rest of the family struggle to come to terms with tragedy, Jon and Mel start to realise Issy’s secrets come from a very dark place…

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The Dark Place is a compelling and harrowing novel about the aftermath of someone’s death. If you care for a little warning, there are definitely a few sensitive topics included in this novel, so beware.

When a loved one commits suicide the people left behind invariably want to know why so it’s only natural that Issy’s parents, Jon and Mel, ask themselves that same question. Why would a young girl, mother of a small child, with a promising life ahead of her, willingly kill herself? It was a strange sensation to be a witness to Issy’s last moments, I didn’t want it to happen but I couldn’t divert my eyes either and in the end I think it was necessary to feel the conviction in Issy. If I hadn’t, I could have had doubts myself perhaps but it was clear that Issy didn’t hesitate, there was no doubt in her mind whatsoever. So she must have had a damn good reason was what crossed my mind because that scene was heart-stopping and I thought a lot about it throughout reading the novel. I immediately asked myself what had happened in her past to result in such a drastic act. I couldn’t fathom what it was but wanted to find out why as much as her parents.

Besides a search for answers A Dark Place is also a story of dealing with grief. With their binding factor not longer there to keep them a tight little family, the tragedy makes Jon and Mel’s question their relationship soon enough. Their relationship was already in some muddy waters before so I was eager to find out if this would break them or pull them closer together. Even though Jon and Mel blamed themselves for not seeing what was going on with their daughter, I didn’t judge them for it, not even when I knew all there was to know.

The story is told in dual narratives by Issy’s mother and father. They both deal with their loss in their own way and both POVs were different in their approach; it helped to see it both from an emotional side and a more hands-on side. While Mel gets a lot of support from her sister Pam, Jon is handling it in his own way and he’s on a mission to find out why she did this with a little help from a detective. Throw in an overly present lorry-driver Greg who gave me shivers every time I read about him and I was getting more paranoid by the minute.

After a while there was an idea that was starting to take form in my head about Issy’s reason for taking her own life, even with the author’s attempts to mislead me with a few clever red herrings, so it didn’t come as a complete surprise but I was still unprepared for how hard it was to hear what it was all about.

The Dark Place is a compelling story that definitely takes a dark turn in the end. I also admire the brave decision of the author to handle several difficult topics in this novel.

*** Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour ***

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Kiss Her Goodbye by Susan Gee #BlogTour #Extract

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Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Kiss Her Goodbye by Susan Gee. My thanks also to Vicky Joss and publisher Aria for the opportunity to be part of the tour. I think this book sounds amazing and it has a quite intriguing tagline that makes me want to know more.

I have a little taster of this book coming up where DI Beverley Samuels is talking to the mother of a missing schoolgirl, so check it out after reading the blurb here.

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Seventeen year old Hayley Reynolds is unwanted at home, and an outsider at school. Pushed away by her best friend Kirsten Green, she makes a deliberate, chilling decision – if Kirsten can’t belong to her, then she won’t belong to anyone….

DI Beverley Samuels has the body of a schoolgirl on her hands – a murder that brings back the hauntingly painful memories of the case she’s tried so desperately to forget.

There’s something deeply disturbing about this crime – and yet with little hard evidence it’s up to her to decide who she will believe….

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Author

Susan Gee

Susan Gee was a finalist in the Daily Mail Write a Bestseller Competition as well as a finalist in The Good Housekeeping fiction competition. This is her first novel.

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Extract

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DS Beverley Samuels

Kirsten’s mum, Mrs Green, is a small woman with a soft Irish accent. There’s a quiet dignity about her as she waits in her armchair in an olive dress and matching shoes, while we pretend that Kirsten will be home soon. When hope flickers in her eye I have to look away. I know that time is running out and my head is filled with past cases. It’s been a week since Kirsten went missing and the focus of the investigation has changed. I glance at the small ornaments that she has neatly arranged on the shelves in front of me: glass owls, pottery rabbits and other creatures. She is a meticulous woman, a woman who likes things in place, but there’s no way to make sense of this. It doesn’t fit in a neat place on a shelf; it is unthinkable. A waft of cooking comes from the kitchen: a smell of onions and gravy that makes my stomach rumble, but even that seems wrong. The homely smell in a broken place.

‘It’s just not like her, Beverley,’ Mrs Green says, but I already know that. I’ve spoken to her teachers at college and the girls in her form. I’ve built up a picture of Kirsten from everyone who knew her and she wasn’t the type to run off and disappear.

The last sighting we have of her is when she walked out of college in tears. There’s been nothing since. I glance at the clock, wanting this to be over. I’m not just here for her, I’m here for the case and I need to know everything about Kirsten that I can. As I look at Mrs Green I wonder if she had anything to do with her daughter’s disappearance. She offers me cups of tea and my eyes are on her body language and mannerisms whenever I mention Kirsten’s name. I ignore her looks of hopeless desperation as though it’s a mask she’s worn for my benefit, but there’s nothing to suggest that she’s anything other than a worried mother.

‘Any friends that she may have gone to? Relatives? Boyfriends?’

We’ve been through these questions before, but I need to make sure that the answers are the same.

Mrs Green sighs and wipes the underside of her eye with her finger so that she doesn’t smudge her mascara. She keeps herself as ordered as she does her house.

‘She didn’t have any friends. A few from Guides that she kept in touch with.’

‘Anyone she’d confide in? Anyone at all?’

Mrs Green looks towards the window and inhales. Talking to her feels like digging out a splinter, both necessary and painful.

‘She was close to her cousin. They moved down south six months ago.’

‘Do you have a phone number?’

Mrs Green’s eyebrow furrows as she turns to look at me. ‘They know she’s missing. My brother would tell me if she was there.’

‘She may have confided in her cousin about something.’

‘Yes, sorry,’ she replies. ‘I’m just not myself.’

It’s me that should be sorry and I shake my head to dismiss it. She could be at her cousin’s house, but I don’t think she will be.

‘I’ll get the phone book,’ she replies, getting up.

While she’s gone, I look around the room. There’s a framed picture of Kirsten on the mantelpiece. She’s in a field with an old man that may be her granddad and they’re laughing. I imagine that one of her parents took it, but her dad isn’t around any more. He died when she was a baby.

The room is too warm and I glance over at the locked windows. The stuffiness in here, along with smells from the kitchen, makes my head ache. Mrs Green returns with a piece of paper with the phone number on and a photo album.

‘This is the picture of the necklace she was wearing too,’ she says as she sits down and opens the red leather-bound book. As she flicks through the album, she presses her lips together and blinks as though trying not to cry.

‘It’s in here somewhere,’ she says, with a shaking hand.

Mrs Green stops on a page and lifts her index finger as though she’s about to touch the photo and then passes the book to me. ‘You can see it best in this one.’

She gives it to me quickly, as though she doesn’t want to hold it any more. It’s a good photograph and the silver locket is clearly shown. The engraved initials KG in beautiful scroll are edged in ivy leaves.

‘Can I take this?’ I ask.

Mrs Green’s eyes open wide and I can see that she doesn’t want me to have it. She blinks rapidly and holds her hands tightly together.

‘I’ll get it straight back to you,’ I tell her.

‘Yes, of course.’

She winces as I take the photograph out. It comes off the backing in one easy peel and I place the book face up on the coffee table, next to me. Mrs Green’s eyes stay fixed on the photograph in my hand as she closes the book over the now empty space.

‘I gave it to her for her birthday. She never takes it off.’

I hold the photograph by the edges and nod. ‘There’s nothing engraved inside or on the back?’

‘Ivy leaves on the back too and a baby picture inside. From when she was about six months.’ Her voice wavers, but she clears her throat and continues. ‘I don’t know if I have a copy of it. I’ll let you know,’ she says, with her voice back in control, pre-empting me.

‘Right. Thank you. This has been very helpful.’

We sit opposite each other for a minute in silence and I decide not to ask for another look at Kirsten’s room. We’ve been through it before and I’m worried that she’ll break down.

‘Have you looked near the church? She may have gone there if she was scared.’

‘We’ve been there. We’ve checked the embankment by the bridge and the areas on the bus route back from college.’

Her face drops. ‘The embankment? Why?’

‘We need to cover everything.’

Mrs Green stiffens. ‘And did you find anything?’

‘No. You’ll know as soon as we do.’

She stays seated as I stand. Her frame is small and birdlike, but she’s made of stronger stuff than most. Kirsten was a similar build. In her old school photographs she was always sitting near the front, hands on knees, with the taller children behind her, a petite and skinny girl who couldn’t have weighed much.

‘I’ve done her favourite dinner on in case she comes back. Lamb stew with arctic roll for afters.’

I remember the smell of stew cooking from the kitchen the last time I was here. The thought of her making that same dinner over and over makes me nauseous. I wish I were better at comforting people, but I’m not. I prefer facts to emotions and while various replies come into my head I dismiss them all.

‘Did I give you the number for our counsellor the other day?’ I ask, already knowing that I did.

She looks disappointed. ‘I don’t need counselling, Beverley. I just need my daughter back.’

I pick up the photograph from the table.

‘You should try not to be on your own too much. Perhaps have someone to stay so you’ve got company for a few days?’

She nods and doesn’t reply. It’s something that I’ve heard other people say, but I don’t know if it’s the right thing. I imagine that she wouldn’t want anyone else here. I picture her polishing the tiny ornaments as soon as I’ve gone, cleaning the windows as she waits for her daughter to come home.

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*** Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blogtour ***

KISS HER GOODBYE blog tour poster

Keep Her Silent by Theresa Talbot #BlogTour #QandA

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Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Keep Her Silent by Theresa Talbot. My thanks also to Vicky Joss and publisher Aria for the opportunity to be part of the tour.

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Ooonagh O’Neil is back with another dark and chilling investigation…

‘Do that which is good and no evil shall touch you’

That was the note the so-called Raphael killer left on each of his victims. Everyone in Glasgow – investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil included – remember the murder of three women in Glasgow which sent a wave of terror through the city. They also remember that he is still at large…

When the police investigation into the Raphael killings reopens, Oonagh is given a tip off that leads her straight to the heart of a complex and deadly cover-up. When history starts to repeat itself, it seems the killer is closer than she thinks. Could Oonagh be the next target…?

Authentic and gritty, Keep Her Silent is a gripping and page-turning thriller that will leave you breathless. Perfect for fans of Susie Steiner, and Karin Slaughter, Patricia Gibney.

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Amazon: mybook.to/KeepHerSilent
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Google Play: http://bit.ly/2u0VxlQ

Author

Theresa TalbotTheresa Talbot is a BBC broadcaster and freelance producer. A former radio news editor, she also hosted The Beechgrove Potting Shed on BBC Radio Scotland, but for many she will be most familiar as the voice of the station’s Traffic & Travel.

Late 2014 saw the publication of her first book, This Is What I Look Like, a humorous memoir covering everything from working with Andy Williams to rescuing chickens and discovering nuns hidden in gardens. She’s much in demand at book festivals, both as an author and as a chairperson.

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QandA

Can you tell me a little bit about this novel? Why do we need to pick this one up?

I could be cheeky and say please pick up & buy Keep Her Silent as my roof leaks & I need new shoes! But seriously, Keep Her Silent has been such a labour of love for me. The second in the Oonagh O’Neil series, there are three strands running through the narrative; a cold case going back to the 1970s when three women were murdered by The Raphael Killer, a women incarcerated in a secure unit for the slaying of her husband and son, and the tainted blood scandal, where thousands of patients were infected with Hep C & HIV through contaminated blood products. The tainted blood scandal has been described as the ‘worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS’ (Sir Robert Winston) and although Keep Her Silent is a work of fiction, this part of the story is based on real characters and real life events. I’ve worked closely with one of the victims, and his story is one of nightmares. I’m a journalist and although, yes I was aware of the scandal, I had no idea of the actual effect it has had on the victims.

I’m always really fascinated by institutionalised crime, or crime by the establishment, and the fact that few, if any, perpetrators are ever brought to justice. That’s how I feel about the tainted blood scandal. Google it and you’ll be led down a wormhole that beggars belief. I made that the central theme to my book, for me it’s the biggest crime of the 20th century and beyond, yet all committed by the establishment with the backing of the law. Pharmaceutical giants were making millions from these infected blood products, yet they put profit before the suffering of mankind. Threading that through a crime novel seemed natural to me – readers invest in characters and themes in works of fiction that make them sit up and take notice. That said, I was really nervous about the whole thing – I felt such a huge responsibility to everyone affected to get it right. Thankfully, so far, it’s had a very positive response.

This is the second novel in a series. Can it be read as a standalone?

Yes, it can be read as a standalone, but there are obviously references to ‘The Lost Children’, and my characters behave in certain ways because of their past and their experiences. One of my pet hates in any work of fiction (especially soaps) is that something awful, wonderful or earth shattering can happen to a character. They’re then the central storyline for six weeks before it moves on to another plotline and their experience is hardly mentioned. I’ve tried to develop my characters, make them real flesh & blood human beings. They change and grow as time moves on. One of my characters, Tom, has undergone (on the surface) quite a dramatic change, but I felt that that was right thing to do. He’d made a decision in the last book to change his life and follow it through. I’ve got a whole lot of respect for Tom..then I realise he’s not real and I made him up! So although it’s not necessary to read The Lost Children first, it may explain some of the character traits and background, but I was careful to ensure that readers who pick up this as their first taste of my novels won’t be left scratching their heads… unless they just happen to have a random itch!

Who is one of your favourite detectives and why?

No contest, Inspector Salvo Montalbano. Written by Andrea Camilleri, the stories are set in Sicily. He’s decent, honest & hard working … just like all good Sicilian Detectives (!) and operates in a rather murky world – there’s loads of humour too. I watch Young Montalbano on DVD to drool over the scenery and practice my Italian. He’s my favourite this week as I’m heading off to Italy soon – in a few months time when I’m stuck indoors and the rain is battering off my window it might be John Shaft again!

What is your favourite method of murder?

I just read an online post saying a Tupperware lid would be the best ever murder weapon as no-one would ever be able to find it again! I’m wracking my brains here trying to think what my ‘favourite’ method is… I have to say, an old episode of ‘Tales of The Unexpected’ keeps coming back to mind. ‘Lambs to The Slaughter’ was an adaptation of a 1953 short story by Roald Dahl. Mary Marney – played by Susan George – whacks her husband over the head with a frozen leg of lamb when he announces that he’s leaving her. She calls the police, claiming it was an intruder, and subsequently feeds the murder weapon to the detective who’s all smitten with her. It’s hilarious – and black too. I’m not sure I’d need to go to all that trouble if I wanted to kill someone – I’d just cook the lamb and watch them slowly lose the will to live as they chewed endlessly on a piece of gristle.

What are you reading right now?

I have far too many books on my TBR pile, and I need to be honest I’ve had to take a break from reading as I had so much writing to do it was interfering with my brain! But I’ve just started The Janus Run by Douglas Skelton (I have a review copy – on the shelves by the time you read this) and I have to say this is one bloody great read!

What’s on the cards in the future?

Book 3 in the Ooagh O’Neil series in now underway (if my agent or publisher is reading this then it’s finished and at the final edit stage!) I’ve grown so fond of Oonagh, she’s flawed and troubled and sometimes gets it wrong – but she’ll fight with her last breath to stick up for the underdog. I’m giving Jim McVeigh (detective) a bit more to say and do in this book too.

Thank you Theresa for answering the questions and having me on the blog tour!

Thank you for having me – it’s been such a pleasure xx

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Keep Her Silent Blog tour Poster